Each passing day, Blockchain technology continues to attract interest and enthusiasm. Business leaders and the general public are slowly embracing the potential of blockchain in streamlining processes and reshaping business models. Studies have forecast that in 2018 spending on blockchain will be in the region of $2.1 billion, going into the future the figure is expected to double year over year. Despite, the numerous developments there are various factors hindering the universal adoption of blockchain technology. This article endeavors to expound on the three major barriers to universal adoption of the blockchain.
Standards and interoperability.
Today, there are hundreds of blockchain networks in operation and development. Each of these blockchains is designed for a unique purpose and has its own underlying architecture, language, and framework. With such a diversified ecosystem of networks, it’s virtually impossible to perform operations across networks and platforms. A survey by Deloitte indicated that there were over 6500 active blockchain projects on GitHub each having its own programming languages, protocols, consensus mechanisms, and privacy measures.
A lack of interoperability between networks and also with existing legacy system is a major headache for developers and IT practitioners. It is virtually impossible to integrate applications and coordinate collaboration with distinct network systems. Sharing information and resources is therefore hampered when having diverse blockchain networks.
Having standardized and interoperable systems will enhance enterprise collaboration on various issues such as application development, validation of concepts and sharing solutions. Additionally, a standardized blockchain will be handy when integrating to existing business infrastructure. Overall, standardization and interoperability will increasingly enhance the ability of business to collaborate, scale and grow.
With Pikcio interoperability is one of our major focuses, in healthcare the three levels of interoperability ordered from highest to lowest fidelity are :
Semantic interoperability that allows for interpretation of data exchanged by not only syntax (structure) but also semantics (meaning) of the data.
Structural interoperability that defines the formats of exchanged clinical data and ensures that received data are preserved and can be interpretable at the data field using the predefined formats.
Foundational interoperability that enables data exchanges between healthcare systems without requiring he ability for the receiving party to interpret the data.
Foundational and structural interoperability are prerequisites for semantic interoperability, which is the hardest to achieve but highest in demand to improve quality of care. Pikcio will strive to accomplish each level of fidelity gradually allowing us to enhance furthermore our solution and the use of cross-chain data portability.
Besides, standards and interoperability another hindrance of universal blockchain adoption are regulatory issues. The current regulatory framework does not address blockchain concepts such as smart contracts and cryptographic signatures. This has prevented may investors from pumping investments into blockchain projects for fear of scams and theft.
On the other hand, some of the existing regulations run counter to the vision of decentralization and anonymity envisioned for blockchain networks. For instance, there are several organizations that are exploring the use of a blockchain powered platform to share medical records. However, under HIPAA guidelines disclosing a patient’s PHI requires that the data recipient gets into a business associate agreement which is a departure from the decentralized blockchain model.
According to Morvareed Salehpour a managing partner at Los Angeles-based Salehpour Legal Consulting, blockchain is bound to generate numerous legal complexities going into the future. Salehpour argues that dispute resolution on blockchain is going to be challenging given the decentralized nature. Establishing jurisdiction, liability and enforcement in a decentralized network are bound to generate even more conflicts and litigations.
Pikcio already has all the regulatory framework in place for most of the data retention norms, and is, as of today, fully GDPR compliant. We thus believe it should be an easy task to be HIPAA compliant and we will maintain our focus on staying relevant when it comes to major international data retention laws.
Complexity and cost.
Building and deploying blockchain solutions require significant technical and financial resources, unlike traditional solutions. This is why there is not yet a widespread adoption of blockchain solution.
To counter these challenges numerous projects are underway to provide cloud-based blockchain as a service. The entry of giants such as Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft only bodes well for the future. These services will accelerate the pace of uptake while lowering the barriers to the development and deployment of blockchain networks. Addition of open source blockchain platforms will also help in fostering wider adoption of the blockchain technology.
To answer this Pikcio is trying to be as developer friendly as possible (Open-source consensus, Python development, frequent updates…), deliver an easy to use API and bring its expertise to those completely new to the blockchain ecosystem.
Adoption of Blockchain technology is definitely faced by major challenges and obstacles. Given that blockchain is in its nascent stages there is still significant room for growth and improvement. If developers can tackle the challenges of standards and interoperability along with developing less costly consensus mechanism and technique the technology is bound to scale to unprecedented heights. Several state legislatures have already passed bills pertaining blockchain and thus there is increased recognition and acceptance. Overall, the blockchain community will continue to grow and expand and will ultimately overcome the current barriers.